We all know that what you eat can have a really big impact on your mental state, from how energized you feel to the clarity of your thoughts. Likewise, what we put into our bodies has a profound effect on the way we feel. But some people don’t realize just how deeply connected diet and mental health are…
In this post, we’ll explore 5 AMAZING links about nutrition and mental health! From why so many people suffer from depression to how dietary changes can help with bipolar disorder or even addictions, these posts will teach you more about the deep connection between diet and overall well-being.
5 AMAZING Links on How Diet and Mental Health Is Interconnected!
We all know that mental illness is actually a type of disease.
We’re not just experiencing the same level of emotion that everyone else does, it’s more like we’re suffering from a different kind of pain than other people.
Mental disorders affect so many people because they are the result of an imbalance in brain chemicals. Oftentimes, this imbalance can be traced back to diet.
The difference between so many people suffering from mental illness is often traced back to the brain changes caused by their diet impairments. For instance, exposure to toxins in the environment and in our food supply has been linked to mental health issues.
Exposure to food additives and chemicals can also be a factor in brain chemistry changes that cause various forms of mental illness.
1) Western Diets Are Linked to Depression!
According to several observational studies, as we’ll mention below, the quality of overall diet is linked to depression risk.
According to a review of 21 studies from 10 countries, eating a healthful diet that consists mostly of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, fish, dairy products with little saturated fat, and antioxidants is associated with a lower risk of depression. (1)
However, like most western diets, on the other hand — one that should be limited to fruits and vegetables and that emphasizes red and processed meats, refined grains, sweets, and high-fat dairy products — was significantly associated with depression.
So, how should you change your diet instead?
There is evidence that high compliance with a Mediterranean diet reduces depression risk by 32%. (2)
2) Happy Gut Happy Brain
In recent years, an expanding body of research has shed light on the ways in which food can affect our moods.
The gut-brain axis, which connects the gut and the brain, is promoted by a healthy diet.
We are affected by our gut microbiome, as it produces neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, which regulate our mood and emotions. (3)
Foods that promote good bacteria encourage neurotransmitter production. On the other hand, eating junk food regularly can cause inflammation that impedes production. The brain receives positive signals loud and clear when neurotransmitter production is strong, and your emotions reflect it. A faulty production can affect your mood as well.
3) Some Foods Have Negative Effects!
So, the diet has an impact on our brains and we can feel better when we eat certain foods. When supplemented with fish oil, a Mediterranean-style diet (with plenty of vegetables, seafood, garlic, and olive oil) can reduce depression symptoms.
Additionally, research shows our gut can reveal how we’re feeling: if we’re stressed, it may increase or decrease. Foods that are healthy for our gut include fruits, vegetables, beans, and probiotics.
The above paragraphs sum up the situation very well. So, what are some of the foods that we should eat less of or avoid completely?
Caffeine, chocolate, and other foods trick the brain into releasing chemicals we might be lacking. Temporarily altering our mood with foods like that can be bad for our mental health.
Saturated fat, such as butter, lard, and palm oil, is one of the food groups that prevent the brain from absorbing nutrients from other foods.
Sleep problems, as well as mood problems, can be caused by caffeine. It can also cause irritation and anxiety in some people. Try to find out which foods might be affecting your mental health negatively.
4) Being With Company Is Better
Eating with others is psychologically, socially, and biologically beneficial.
As a result, we feel connected to others, we have a sense of rhythm and regularity in our lives. In addition, talking and listening allow us to slow down and not eat too fast.
Spend a day with your family or friends at least once a week to enjoy meals together. So it won’t become a chore, choose an easy prepare a meal.
Assign tasks so that each person is responsible for something different, such as shopping, setting the table, cooking, or washing up. Make sure the television is off so you can all converse and share.
5) Avoid Sugar!
In particular, refined sugars are unhealthy for the brain. They also worsen insulin regulation and promote oxidative stress in your body. Studies have demonstrated that a diet high in refined sugar leads to impaired brain function – and that depression symptoms, in particular, may worsen. (4)
The brain’s enclosed space is a place where free radicals or damaging inflammatory cells circulate, which further contributes to brain tissue injury if poor nutrition or free radicals are present. In spite of the connection between mood and food, the medical field hasn’t fully acknowledged it for decades.
You can improve your mental health by doing yoga too! Check the article below:
9 Incredible Benefits of Yoga for Mental Health
Which Foods Boost Your Mental Health?
A stressful lifestyle can put a lot of strain on your mental health. It’s easy to blame job pressure, family problems, or even personal insecurities for the decrease in your mental well-being.
The problem with these explanations is that they are often vague, leaving plenty of room for interpretation—not good when you’re trying to fix the problem at hand. That doesn’t mean you should ignore stress altogether.
You just need to figure out what makes you feel better and use that knowledge as a tool to help yourself feel better overall.
Here are some foods to boost your mental health:
- Dark Chocolate
There’s no denying it—each bar or piece of dark chocolate is packed with theobromine (a stimulant); cacao also contains flavonols, which help increase blood flow to the brain. This is one of our bodies’ favorite ways to feel more awake, alert, and mentally active. However, as we mentioned, eat moderately!
Eggs have choline, a brain vitamin that plays a role in memory and intelligence. Don’t eat too many eggs so you don’t negatively affect your diet and mental health!
Oatmeal is rich in protein and fiber, which aid in proper blood flow to the brain. It also contains magnesium, which keeps blood pressure under control. Whole grains contain B vitamins (B6 and B12), which are essential for memory, learning, sleep, attention span, and energy.
Fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which aid in proper blood flow. Thanks to the omega-3 fats they contain, cold-water fish like salmon are important for mental wellness. The most important diet habit to prevent depression according to researchers is to consume rich omega-3-rich foods. (5)
Compared to people who don’t eat nuts, people who eat them regularly are less likely to suffer from depression. Among all the nuts studied, walnuts stood out. There were significantly fewer problems with depression among walnut eaters compared to other nut eaters and also non-nut eaters. (6)
- Dark Leafy Greens
Spinach, kale, and collard greens are rich in magnesium and calcium—both of which help regulate blood pressure. Women who follow a plant-based diet, especially a healthy plant-based diet, are less likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, and psychological distress, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition. (7) This is a clear link between the plant-based diet and mental health.
So there you have it! These foods will give you more mental energy without the crash after your workday is over.
Next time you’re worried about being stressed out from work or lack of routine, reach for these foods. They’ll make your life a whole lot easier and help you feel better.
So, as you can see from this article there is a clear scientific link between diet and mental health. Since now you know the reasons and how you can improve your mental health by the foods we listed; your mental health will improve with each meal!
Love and have belief in yourself. Trust in the process and you’ll get much better quickly. We hope you’ve gotten something valuable from this article.
Please share the information you learned with others!
Thank you for reading.
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